New words entering the French dictionary

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French Dictionary Le Petit Larousse has added 170 new words to its 2022 dictionary, many of which are a direct and indirect result of the pandemic.

In a normal year, around 150 are added, distilled over the course of a year from a selection of around 1,000 candidate words, Bernard Cerquiglini, linguistics professor and Petit Larousse advisor, told France Info.

“I have never seen such a linguistic change. It seems to me similar to what happened during the French Revolution, an upheaval, the appearance of new words and meanings and above all a collective appropriation of the language ”, he declared.

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Among the new entries are the names Sars-CoV-2 and Covid-19. The dictionary follows the decision of the guardians of the language of France of the French Academy that it is the coronavirus corn the Covid-19.

The fortnight – a quarantine period of 14 days, a clothes rack of fourteen (14) and quarantine (quarantine)

The sheave – an abridged version of intensive care or in intensive care in a hospital context

Telework – teleworking or teleworking. TV can be added to many words to imply that they are done online, such as telemedecine for an online medical consultation, which also became much more prevalent during the pandemic

Hydroalcoholic gel – hand gel

Patient zero – Patient zero or the first patient to be diagnosed with a condition, often the source of a cluster

The cluster – Anglicism “cluster” has become widely used over the past year to describe a group of cases linked to the virus

The coronapist – cycle paths created to encourage cycling and reduce the number of public transport users during the pandemic. A new currency is another coat rack, of coronavirus and cycle path or cycle path

As well as the new creations were words that were previously obscure, rarely used, or widely forgotten.

Containment and the deconfinement have returned to daily use and to the pages of Petit Larousse, after years of being used only in the nuclear field. Yet as words to describe the lockdown and then the lifting of the lockdown, they have become extremely important in everyday life.

Reconfinement, meanwhile, is a more recent construction describing the process of returning to locking after a period or relative freedom.

Asymptomatic is over 100 years old, but had fallen into disuse, according to Le Figaro, but was in common parlance to talk about people who tested positive for Covid, but had no symptoms

Swab – this now refers to the nasal swab used for Covid testing, but was in common use in the Middle Ages to describe the cylindrical brushes used to clean the barrels of muskets and cannons.

Meanwhile, the adjective racialized – to describe someone who is the subject of racist perception and / or behavior – reflects the events that have made the headlines of the past 12 months, including the reaction to the murder of George Floyd by the police in United States.

So far, members of the Académie Française, the official strongholds of the language, have kept their opinions on some of the new entries, including the click-and-collect (the famous French click-retired is also included), batch cooking and mocktail, for themselves.

But the Academy’s long-standing distrust of Anglicisms is well known. He offered many French alternatives to widely used English words, although their adoption by the French is generally mixed, with most people inexplicably preferring wifi to the favorite of the Academy wireless internet access (wireless Internet access).


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